Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)

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Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are potent atmospheric pollutants. Some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

The EPA has classified seven PAH compounds as probable human carcinogens:

  • benz[a]anthracene,
  • benzo[a]pyrene,
  • benzo[b]fluoranthene,
  • benzo[k]fluoranthene,
  • chrysene,
  • dibenz(a,h)anthracene, and
  • indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene

The source of PAH’s include:

  • Car exhaust
  • The smoke generated by various cooking methods
    • High heat grilling
    • Barbequing
    • Smoked foods (meats, fish,etc.)
  • Tobacco smoke

These substances may inhibit the conversion of PAHs into carcinogens:

Lycopene

Wang, H., et al. The carotenoid lycopene differentially regulates phase I and II enzymes in dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced MCF-7 cells. Nutrition. 2010.

Resveratrol

Berge, G., et al. Resveratrol inhibits benzo[a]pyrene-DNA adduct formation in human bronchial epithelial cells. Br J Cancer. 91(2):333-338, 2004.

Chlorophyllin

Benzo[a]pyrene (BP) DNA adduct formation in DNA repair-deficient p53 haploinsufficient [Xpa(-/-)p53(+/-)] and wild-type mice fed BP and BP plus chlorophyllin for 28 days

Vitamin C

Gajecka, M., et al. The protective effect of vitamins C and E against B(a)P-induced genotoxicity in human lymphocytes. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 18(3):159-167, 1999

Vitamin E

Gajecka, M., et al. The protective effect of vitamins C and E against B(a)P-induced genotoxicity in human lymphocytes. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 18(3):159-167, 1999.

Green Tea

Wang, Z. Y., et al. Protection against polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-induced skin tumor initiation in mice by green tea polyphenols. Carcinogenesis. 10(2):411-415, 1989.


Benzo[a]pyrene

Benzo[a]pyrene is the first PAH chemical carcinogen to be discovered. Benzo[a]pyrene is also found in coal tar, in automobile exhaust fumes (especially from diesel engines), in all smoke resulting from the combustion of organic material (including cigarette smoke), and in charbroiled food.

These substances may counteract the toxic effects of Benzo[a]pyrene:

D-Glucaric Acid

Walaszek, Z., et al. Dietary glucarate-mediated reduction of sensitivity of murine strains to chemical carcinogenesis. Cancer Letters. 33(1):25-32, 1986.

Quercetin

Jin, N. Z., et al. Preventive effects of quercetin against benzo[a]pyrene-induced DNA damages and pulmonary precancerous pathologic changes in mice. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 98(6):593-598, 2006.

Vitamin C

Gao, A., et al. [Vitamin C reverses benzo (a) pyrene-induced cell cycle changes by E2F pathway.] Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 40(2):79-83, 2006.

Vitamin E

Gajecka, M., et al. The protective effect of vitamins C and E against B(a)P-induced genotoxicity in human lymphocytes. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 18(3):159-167, 1999

Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries

Hope Smith, S., et al. Antimutagenic activity of berry extracts. J Med Food. 7(4):450-455, 2004.


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